The Jodi Graham Foundation is a not-for-profit organization and was federally incorporated in 2013. The foundation was created to educate and bring awareness of Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
MISSION (what we do): To provide support to TBI survivors, to live in a safe environment with opportunity for growth, improvement and independence by working with educated and encouraging staff.
VISION (what we want to achieve): To build a permanent home(s) for TBI survivors to have a good quality of life.
On May 18th, 2006 life as I knew it changed forever. I was in a horrific car accident, the passenger in a t-bone collision, and suffered a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Doctors thought I was going to die...I didn't! The doctors thought I'd live out my life in a vegetative state...I'm not!
MY LIFE IS CHANGED BUT FAR FROM OVER!! I make it my full-time job to fight my way back from the deficits I now have. I'm labelled a "non-verbal functioning quadriplegic ....WHATEVER!! I'm recovering slowly but surely AND I BELIEVE IN ME!!
Believe in You, Believe in Me.... I do.
My name is Jodi Graham and my motto is "Believe in Me" Some days it's a harder motto than others. The believe part can be challenging. When my body doesn't do what my mind's telling it to do - believing's hard. I was an athlete before my accident at 24 and was told I was a really good one. Soccer was my game. I was used to being able to control my body with my mind. Not so much anymore - but it's better than it was - and I work at it, becoming even better and I work at believing. Even on my hardest days, I know God is there and will be there - and I believe.
The other difficult part is the "Me" part. The me is always evolving through everyone's life, but by the time you hit your twenties you think you've got a handle on who the "Me" is - or at least a pretty good idea of who the basic "Me" is. That was me. I was not an in your face kind of girl. Me was someone with a quiet confidence. Me was an adored older sister and adoring older sister of my two brothers. Me was a loving daughter who enjoyed my Mom and Dad. Me was a friendly, outgoing personality with lots of friends and cousins - who went out and did things - worked, partied, shopped, went away on sunny holidays, went to Sens' games and my brothers' and best friends hockey games.
The accident and me was redefined in a way I never expected or could have imagined. For a while my mind didn't work. Then it started to come back. But the words didn't. They did in my head but through my voice. And without my voice it was hard for others to see "Me" as i saw me.
My mother and I developed a sign language of our own to communicate, but sometimes she has to guess and then my "Me" becomes my Mom's interpretation of me. She knows me well and always has so here interpretation is likely the closest of anyone's, but it isn't necessarily always me. But that's what happens - others interpret who they think is me - not everyone can still see "Me" - and that scares some people. They feel awkward and it's hard - for both of us. And it's so frustrating for me - because I know my mind is working - (sometimes better than others who haven't had a brain injury) - and I know my spirit's still there and my light is strong. And my basic "Me" has changed - it's had to. Because I've had to fight for "Me" like I've never had to fight before. Now - I have to fight my body - I've had to and continue to fight the professionals who said I wouldn't communicate or eat on my own or walk. And there are many - professionals included - who have taken up the banner and fight with me to get all of me back and to help others get their "Me" back.
So my "Me" has changed from a quiet fighter to an "I WILL BE HEARD" fighter. My "Me" has become someone who fights for myself and others who had to find new ways to communicate to be heard and to be who we are - have been and want to be. We are still here. We are still "Me". Believe in me. Believe in you. I do.
My goal of this web page is to bring awareness to brain injury, hopefully to the whole world.
February 2020: It's a seemingly simple goal, but for Jodi and Cheryl Graham, it's been nearly 14 years in the making. This summer, Jodi, 38, hopes to walk one of her friends down the aisle at his wedding.
August 2012: Six years after a crash that almost killed her, Jody Graham walked a stretch of a south Ottawa track Wednesday night – steps her doctors never thought she’d be able to take.
November 2006: Jodi Graham has always been the centre of her family's world. Now, she is also in the centre of their home. Open the door to the Graham's bungalow on Larose Avenue and their is Jodi, her hospital bed occupying most of the former living room.
Jodi Graham CTV
Healthy Living – July 23, 2013 CTV Ottawa Morning Live